Update on Buckinghamshire Children’s Services improvement plan


News releaseBuckinghamshire County Council have today published the following:

Buckinghamshire’s Children’s Services do not need any further Government intervention, the County Council is capable of leading its own improvement programme, and an independent person is to be appointed to replace the Chief Executive as chair of the Children’s Services Improvement Board.

These are the conclusions of the Department for Education, as they publish a finalised report prepared by Red Quadrant, the independent Government-appointed consultants providing challenge, improvement advice and support to the County Council and its partners.

The report says that if the Children’s Services improvement plan and Red Quadrant’s recommendations are implemented fully and to the agreed timescales, then they are likely to have a significant impact on improving children’s safeguarding in Buckinghamshire.

The Department for Education have informed the County Council that they will look for clear evidence that the pace of change, which has recently improved, is maintained and that there is strong leadership and management of the improvement programme.

Cabinet Member for Children’s Services Lin Hazell welcomed the report and its recommendations: “In situations like this, there are no quick fixes. Since we received our inadequate rating we have carefully planned a whole range of initiatives to improve the outcomes for children and young people. I recognise the size of the task ahead, but I believe that with careful planning and resourcing we can turn things around.”

Chief Executive Chris Williams said: “This is good news in that the Under Secretary of State has the confidence, despite some reservations, that we can bring about the required improvements in Children’s Services ourselves rather than appointing external commissioners. I am fully committed to the improvement work, having dedicated about one third of my time to providing support to the Children’s Services senior management team and colleagues in driving forward the improvement plan at pace.”

The full report is available on the Department for Education website:
www.gov.uk/government/publications/buckinghamshire-council-childrens-services-diagnostic-report

I am glad the Council is rising to the crucial task of improving children’s services and that they accepted all of the Red Quadrant recommendations. I know they will face close scrutiny over the weeks and months ahead, not least from me. That will be a good thing: Children’s Services must meet local need and secure public confidence.

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